PA Councilmember Visits KenCrest’s North Broad Early Learning Center
On May 16, Philadelphia Councilmember At-Large Derek Green pays a special visit to KenCrest’s North Broad Early Learning Center.
By Sydney Kerelo
Philadelphia Councilmember At-Large, Derek S. Green, came into the public light in 2015 when he won the Democratic primary for the City Council. Later that year, he was elected as a member of the City Council and was re-elected in 2019.
But not only is he changing the game when it comes to our Judicial system, but he is an advocate for children with autism, like his son.
Councilmember Green and his wife, Sheila, co-founded the first Autism Support Class at Henry H. Houston Elementary School to aid other families affected by autism. Recently, he made the trip to KenCrest’s North Broad Early Learning Center in Philadelphia to help other children and families with disabilities.
“At KenCrest, 25 percent of our kids have disabilities,” says Andani Dasana, Program Manager at North Broad. “But they are included within everything in the school. We also have a literacy program where we send books in bags to our children’s homes so that they can read them and share them before sending them back. We have scholarship support from our leadership that allows kids to stay until 6 p.m. so parents can go to school and work without worrying about finding childcare.”
One parent, Danielle Sullivan, has three sons who’ve gone through KenCrest’s Early Learning Centers. As a full-time student, Sullivan needed a center that would work with her schedule while adhering to her children’s needs. KenCrest helped support her with the help of the Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program (EITC), which funds KenCrest’s scholarship program to offset before and after-care expenses.
“KenCrest has been amazing for my sons; they’ve learned to read, gained leadership skills, school basics, and more,” says Danielle. “My youngest son has autism, and I learned from an early age that he had it. When he started at KenCrest, he was nonverbal, but he’s reached amazing milestones since being in the program for two years.”
Sullivan was able to graduate from college while her son learned and gained new skills daily. She never had to compromise her investment in either of their educations with KenCrest’s support.
“This school is the foundation necessary for many children within the community,” adds Sullivan.
Leon, Sullivan’s son, met Councilmember Green during his visit and participated in a read-aloud of the book “Saturday” by Oge Mora. Councilmember Green read aloud, he asked questions, engaged with the students, and made the experience fun and interactive.
Councilmember Green represents Philadelphia and chairs the committee on Finance and Disabilities and serves as the Vice President Chair of the Committees on Aging and Law and Government. Most importantly, he is a father who cares deeply for his son and advocates for children with autism.